KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Project Grad scholar Kyniya Hutchison has been accepted at Alabama A&M University where she will major in Mass Communications.

“I’m ready to graduate, I’m ready for June 1st so I can start my journey to college,” said Hutchison.

Already, she’s no stranger to public speaking, last year she spoke at a City Council meeting, advocating for her fellow students during the pandemic and the gun violence that has plagued the school community.

“Last year I spoke on a lot of things as far as mental health things that we need within the school for the students, for everything that we’ve been through,” Hutchison said, “and I think we came out better than we went in.”

We asked Hutchison what Project Grad has meant to her.

She said, simply, “it made me want to go harder.”

That’s a powerful statement. This student has a 4.3 GPA. She won first place and scholarship money in the Phi Beta Sigma essay contest and is in several extracurriculars. Hutchison credits Project Grad with getting her on the right track after a rough start.

“During middle school, ” she said, “I was a little bit all over the place, didn’t know what I wanted to do, hanging around with the wrong crowds and stuff like that.”

She learned, “when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, you take a step back and realize what you have ahead of you and take it day by day and minute by minute.”

“I’m proud,” said her mother Kyeisha Ligon, “she’s done amazing. I couldn’t ask for more.”